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3 - Democratization and the Alliance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 September 2018

Uk Heo
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Terence Roehrig
Affiliation:
US Naval War College
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Summary

In 1987, South Korea made the transition to democracy after years of authoritarian rule. The democratic transition was crucial not only for South Korea’s political development but also for the South Korea–United States alliance. Democratization removed an obstacle to closer political ties since Seoul and Washington now had similar political systems and values that allowed further growth as a partnership that went beyond security interests. However, democratization also brought elections and new elites to power who sometimes had different policy positions than Washington on South Korea–United States relations, North Korea, and other issues that affected the alliance. This chapter examines South Korea’s road to democracy, the role Washington played in this journey, and the impact ROK democratization has had on the alliance.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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